The truth was: It could never hide all your secrets.
Emmy learned that the hard way.
Behind Club Imperial’s doors lay all of those Emmy never wanted to share. Secrets she wanted to hide forever from the world. And Nathaniel.
As she lay unconscious in the hospital, beaten and bruised, Nathanial never left her side. He didn't want her lifestyle—their lifestyle—to take away from the justice her attack deserved. Slowly, as Emmy started to recover, she started to accept all the good in her new life...
Until the day her phone rang and her world, all those secrets, came crashing down around her.
Terrible things she left behind suddenly reappeared, and her scars were ripped open. Emmy wasn’t sure she could survive the pain, again, and she had to let Nathaniel go to protect him from the hell of her past...
But Nathaniel wasn't walking away.
**Content Warning: Contains explicit content that may not be suitable for all audiences. Also contains BDSM, Erotic content and language. 18+ Audience
The car turned off the road to a paved driveway that disappeared through the trees. They wound through the greenish midday light and the trees disappeared from her side of the car to reveal Nathaniel’s North Hills estate. Her jaw dropped.
There were acres of manicured lawns between them and the house. There was a stand of trees half way there with a pond surrounded by carefully maintained cattails and native grasses that were starting to perk from their winter rest. She thought she saw a spigot in the middle for a fountain.
Beyond was an enormous white and brick Jacobean-style mansion. Three floors tall with huge windows over-looking the lawns, the front door was set back from the driveway, giving the house a u-shape to the front. There was tower—a tower—above the main entrance which rose to a fourth floor. The top of the house was lined with white cement railing and each of the two front wings had a parapet on the corners. She started counting chimneys and finally had to stop at twenty-five. As they drove further, she caught glimpses of the depth of the house, and there were more chimneys she hadn’t seen earlier. All of the windows were three panes wide and seemed to be floor to ceiling. Part of the back of the house looked newer, but had been added on in the style of the original. It had the traditional white puzzle cornering and there was some ivy on one wing, but it was carefully maintained.
Emmy looked at him. “Is there a ballroom?”
“Of course,” he said dismissively.
“You live in this?”
“Quite.” He smiled. “I’ll give you the whole tour when you’re feeling up to it. Your room is in the back overlooking one of the gardens and the pool house.”
“Pool house,” she mumbled. “You have a pool house.” She turned back and pressed her hand to the window. “It looks like Hatfield House.”
With that thought, the pang of loss hit her so hard she had tears streaming down her cheeks before she even realized what was going on. It had been years since she had thought about Hatfield House and the sudden realization that it was the last time she saw her father was like a bolt of lightning.
“Oh, my God.” Nathaniel pushed over to put his arm around her. “What’s wrong? Holy crap, please stop crying.”
She tried, she really did. But she couldn’t stop the gasps and hiccups that went along with the emotion. She looked at him. “You want to know more about me? The last time I saw my father was at Hatfield House outside of London. We were there for a benefit to try and save the Ukrainian Symphony Orchestra. He was there with Sarinya and had just proposed to her. I left the next day to go back to Boston, and he was killed in a car accident three months later, after playing out the season with the London Symphony. They were going to see Sarinya’s family for holiday, and he never made it.”
He just held her a moment while letting her cry. “I’m so sorry, Emmy.”
“I didn’t think a stupid house could do this to me,” she said, smearing the tears away indelicately. “I mean, I like your house, I just didn’t think it was going to make me think of my dad and get me all worked up like this.”
“You have had a very traumatic two weeks, Em.” He tried to console her. “I suspect most anything will set you off.”
“I hate being emotional,” she hiccupped.
“I can’t imagine why.” He smiled at her.
She smiled back, starting to feel a little more balanced. “You have a beautiful house.”
“I’m glad you like it.” He lowered his voice and continued, “But you can’t go in the West Wing.”
“Why not,” she asked, confused.
“Because that’s where I keep my secret magical rose.” He laughed. “And sometimes the teapots talk.”
Emmy giggled. “So you’re telling me this is a reverse fairytale castle? What does that make Quinn? Or you for that matter?”
“I’m a handsome equine.”
“Oh, so you’re full of horseshit.”